Mid-America Economic Development Council Presents Award to Watertown Development
CHICAGO, IL – The Watertown Development Company (WDC) was recognized with an award for its efforts in attracting workforce on Thursday in Chicago.
Michelle Kakacek, Director of Business Development for the WDC, accepted the award in the Workforce and Talent category for WDC’s Intern Engagement Initiative, a collection of tools designed to engage summer interns and integrate them into the community via networking opportunities and introduction to local attractions and amenities, greatly improving the probability of those interns returning to Watertown after graduation.
The WDC, with assistance from a committee within the WDC-administered Watertown Workforce Advisory Council, collaborated on ideas to encourage interns to bond with the community and gain a real sense of living and working in Watertown post-graduation. In 2020, the committee created a “Passport to Watertown” to be given to interns, which included a free pass to the city attraction of their choice and $20 in Chamber Bucks to kick-start their Watertown experience. The Passports were designed with graphics from nine Watertown attractions and included QR codes linking to lists of events and restaurants and maps of recreational trails. A Connections card was included as well, to encourage networking. In 2021, the Passport added an additional attractions pass, plus a visitor discount card. Also in 2021, an in-person event was held to allow interns to network with community leaders and other interns.
WDC’s “Attract and Enhance” program, which provides matching funds for relocations and training, complimented the above engagement efforts by providing matching funds to companies for intern relocations, helping alleviate some of the housing cost burden for students in Watertown for the summer.
Kakacek noted the Intern Engagement Initiative as “an excellent example of the impact and importance of collaboration in attracting and retaining our area workforce.”
For many years, The Mid-America Economic Development Council has sponsored the annual Economic Development Awards competition to recognize and stimulate the creative use of quality marketing by economic development organizations throughout the 13-state Mid-America region in promoting their respective communities.
Mid-America EDC members are dedicated economic development professionals who share best practices to add value in their organizations and communities.
Mid-America EDC is a multi-state association dedicated to being the leading resource for making contact with site selectors, advancing regional economic development programs, and accessing thought leadership.
Kakacek and other award recipients will also be recognized in the January issue of Site Selection magazine.
For more information about The Mid-America Economic Development Council, visit www.midamericaedc.org.